US Army Awards First Cloud Computing Contract
I have always stated that the best vote of confidence that cloud computing can get is from the military. By their very nature they are cautious, and will undoubtedly shun use of technology that can possibly jeopardize national security. In fact, military spending has long been a bone of contention with people across the political spectrum and hence, the armed forces will definitely not take to the cloud just for the sake of cutting costs if there’s even the tiniest chance of security being compromised.
Now, six months after DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the research arm of the Department of Defense (DoD) decided to look at cloud computing and four months since it issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) to the private sector, the US Army has awarded its first cloud computing contract.
Cloud Contract Agreement
The $249.8 million fixed-price contract has been awarded to seven firms – Criterion Systems Inc., General Dynamics One Source, IBM, HP Enterprise Services, Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman and MicroTech – who will compete for business on a task order basis. According to the award on the US Defense website, it “will provide for the Enterprise cloud computing services in support of the US Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems” and estimated to be completed by December 16, 2016. The website also mentions that bids were solicited online and there were 11 contenders.
“Winning the Army Private Cloud contract is proof that MicroTech’s cloud computing solutions and mobile data centers are cutting edge and provide the best-of-breed solutions the Army needs to get to the next level,” MicroTech president and CEO Tony Jimenez remarked. “With the grand opening of our Innovation and Integration Center [I2C] this past July, we have fully committed ourselves to creating and providing cutting edge cloud and data center solutions and our customers have noticed!”
The Obama administration, under the Cloud First policy initiated by former Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, is looking to consolidate data center footprint and move several services to the cloud (See: Federal CIO Vivek Kundra Plans to Shut Down 100 Data Centers by 2012, 800 by 2015 ). The DoD, with the highest number of data centers in the government, has indicated that it intends to shutter down 150 of them by the end of this year. This contract seems to be another step in that direction.
(Correction:: The armed forces will definitely NOT take to the cloud just for the sake of cutting costs…)
By Sourya Biswas